Town council updated on projects, approves changes in municipal center use

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By David Meade

During their first meeting of the New Year, Williamston Town Council heard reports from Envision Williamston on several grant related projects and approved several resolutions including one amending the fee schedule and rules for usage of the Municipal Center, allowing alcohol to be served during private events.

Envision Williamston Executive Director Sonya Crandall reported that a Palmetto Pride Grant will support a HOWDY clean-up day and three new “Adopt a Rest Stop” locations in town. Anderson County Accommodations Tax (ATAX) funding will be used for marketing the town’s 2017 Season of Events in Mineral Spring Park, Crandall said.

Several other projects will be launched in the new year including a Mustang Alley Feasibility Study and a murals project is being added to an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant application for streetscaping.

Crandall and Envision Williamston Marketing and Community Placemaking co-chair Debbie Chapman presented awards for the Deck the Halls Tree Displays at Town Hall.

Newly elected Ward 4 Councilman Chris Alexander, reelected Mayor Mack Durham and Councilman David Harvell were sworn in at the start of the meeting. Councilman Tony Hagood was chosen to serve as Mayor Pro Tem.

During the business portion of the meeting, Council approved a $56,500 match for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant of $84,500 recently awarded to Envision Williamston. The grant will be used for low-cost, high impact beautification and community engagement downtown projects totaling $183,650.

The projects include development of greenway space, small gateways to the community, facade improvement and a murals program according to Crandall.

The projects will lay a foundation for a larger community grant, according to Crandall. The funding will come from the Hospitality Tax fund.

During the meeting, Town Council addressed a number of resolutions, appointments and requests.

Among them Council approved a resolution amending the fee schedule for use of the Municipal Center that will allow alcohol to be served at private events.

The guideline requires a $200 fee for two officers to be present if alchohol is served and $100 an hour after two hours.

The requirement provides for safety and security and is standard to other municipalities according to Councilman Rockey Burgess who is on the ordinance committee that made the recommendation. The amendment passed 4-1 with Councilman David Harvell opposed.

Council approved a zoning ordinance amendment which addresses outbuilding and changes setback limits from 3 ft. to 5 ft..

Council approved first reading on an ordinance amending the regulations of Events in Public Places for Mineral Spring Park to include all parks. The ordinance defines all public spaces, outdoor parks and recreation facilities for staff clarification. The change adds Brookdale Park, Gray Drive Park, Veterans Park, walking trails and recreational areas to the ordinance.

A resolution will be considered at the next meeting of council to make sure changes are up to date by resolution rather than ordinance according to Town Attorney Lee Cole.

Town Council unanimously approved a request by Greg Paige to allow use of the Municipal Center auditorium for a ring ceremony for members of the State Championship Cheerleading Team.

Council approved the date of July 1 for the Freedom Celebration fireworks show and Freedom Celebration.

Council approved the appointment of Jimmy Barnes to the town planning commission.

Council approved a 10 year loan of $150,000 from BB&T Financial to purchase radio read water meters. The loan was at a lower interest rate of 2.47 percent than the USDA 20 year loan at 3 percent, according to Mayor Mack Durham.

Council approved a resolution recognizing and honoring the 2016 Palmetto High Girls Cross Country team for their recent AAA State Championship. The team is coached by Micah Roberts, who was also named the Coach of the Year for Cross Country.

Council approved an invitation to allow newly installed councilman Chris Alexander to served on the Envision Williamston Facade Improvement program

Council approved an invitation to have Councilman Burgess serve on the Envision Williamston Main Street Challenge selection committee.

A brief executive session to receive legal advice on a propety transfer was held and the meeting was adjourned.

A reception was held for mayor and council following the meeting.